There are few options that medical science has for treating chronic pain. And lots of the therapies out there do not necessarily work for a large number of patients. Opioid painkillers are effective. On the other hand they come with all kinds of concerns. There is the worry of accidental overdose, or of addiction. For many over time, they build up a tolerance, which means they need more and more just to find relief. Non-opioid related treatments are sorely sought after, to give treatment-resistant sufferers the relief they need, without adding to the opioid addiction epidemic.
Surgically implanted spinal cord stimulators (SCS) are another option. These intercept the pain sensation by disrupting the signals sent from the site of pain to the brain via the spine. But this has side effects, and the procedure to implant it is invasive. Giuseppe Marineo is aware of this problem and thinks he has found an answer. He is a bio-engineer and professor at Tor Vergata University in Rome. Marineo is also the inventor of the recently FDA approved Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment, also known as scrambler therapy.
This is a free standing device. It does not require any drugs, is not invasive, and has no side effects. The sensation of chronic pain develops over time. It is like learning a skill. The more a person works at it the better he or she gets. But unfortunately with pain, the longer the body feels it, the deeper it becomes and carries more impact. When an injury occurs, the brain ramps up its response. But once the area is healed, the brain switches off the pain sensation and other operations associated with healing. Sometimes however the pain switch gets stuck in the on mode.
Using small electrodes such as those associated with an EKG, the scrambler device overrides the pain message, telling the brain instead that in fact, there is no pain. Patients undergo 10-20 daily treatments which last 30-60 minutes each. Patients will all kinds of pain-related conditions have shown remarkable results. Their pain drops significantly over time. Talk to your doctor or a specialist if you suffer from chronic pain. And see if scrambler therapy may be right for you. (http://nationalpainreport.com/scrambler-therapy-%E2%88%92-a-new-way-to-treat-chronic-pain-without-drugs-or-invasive-devices-8827467.html).
A new study found that over a third of patients with chronic pain also have attention deficit disorder (ADD). A researcher and physician at the Intractable Pain Management clinic in West Covina, California conducted study, Forest Tennant, MD. Dr. Tennant said these findings may have doctors start to evaluate whether or not their non-adherent patients suffer from ADD, in addition to their pain-related condition. He presented these findings during PAINWeek 2015, a convention of pain management professionals.
Tennant said of the study, “I think this is a nice new little advance in how to take care of people with pain.” This is just the latest in a trend, evaluating the whole patient and what other disorders may be influencing their pain-related condition. 45 participants were recruited from a pain treatment clinic. Each filled out a 16 question survey asking them about their attention, concentration, temper, impulsivity, distractibility, short-term memory, and reading retention. If patients answered five or more questions affirmatively it meant that they had ADD. The pain specialist found that 37.8% of respondents tested positive for the disorder.
Dr. Tennant said that those suffering from chronic pain often have a deficiency in catecholamine, a substance that helps relieve pain in the body. This deficiency causes hyper-arousal in the autonomic nervous system. That in turn causes changes in the sympathetic nervous system. This pain depletes the body of dopamine. It also puts the brain into a hyperactive state, causing ADD. Dr. Tennant believes this is why some pain patients have difficulty completing daily activities. The researcher said he had noticed for years that pain patients would exhibit the same symptoms associated with ADD. They would quit reading, and taking part in certain daily activities. Yet, they would not tell their physician. This lack of attention crosses over into treatment, however.
These patients are given careful instructions but fail to adhere to them. Tennant said that once they start taking ADD medication their condition improves, and they are better able to adhere to their pain associated regimen. If you suffer from chronic pain, be sure to address the issue with a doctor or pain management specialist. Those who believe their pain is affecting their ability to concentrate should talk it over with a specialist.
The CDC has just released new guidelines referring to the treatment of acute and chronic pain, and opioid painkillers are playing far less of a role than in years past. What’s more, jurisdictional wrangling has arisen between the CDC and FDA as to who has the power to set regulations regarding prescription medication. A recent webinar hosted by the CDC covered these new guidelines, including foremost a push toward “non-pharmacological therapy” over opioid painkillers.
This is to stem addiction and overdose. Drug testing patients before prescribing opioids and during use is also being considered. Anti-depressants would not be prescribed simultaneously, as many pain patients also suffer from depression, which causes the sensation to become worse. For acute pain, prescriptions would only last for up to three days. The agency plans to finalize its guidelines by November. Those would be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services, to be put into place by January of next year. Though these changes are meant to help curb the prescription drug addiction epidemic and avoid overdoses, many patients are worried they will also severely curtail their access to one of the few treatments that successfully treats their pain. There are many questions left up in the air. But the agency is not releasing the webinar nor the guidelines to the public.
Here are some of the changes. Opioids should only be prescribed after non-pharmacological options are considered insufficient, and if the benefits outweigh the risks. Physicians should outline specific treatment goals to patients before starting opioid therapy, such as less pain and better mobility. The risks and benefits should be discussed at length with the patient. Short acting varieties should be prescribed over long-acting varieties. The lowest possible effective dose should be prescribed at the outset.
A patient’s substance abuse record should be reviewed, and the patient carefully monitored and reevaluated periodically, including submitting to drug tests. For pain patients already receiving treatment, be aware of these proposed changes. Those who are not, and who suffer from chronic pain should seek out a physician or specialist. There are many different kinds of treatments available today to give you relief and let you reclaim your life. Let an expert help find the right option for you, pharmacological or otherwise.
A new study out of Johns Hopkins University finds that those with the two most common types of arthritis and who practice yoga, find pain relief. The results were published in the Journal of Rheumatology. It followed rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis patients who took part in a yoga class for eight straight weeks. These patients were found to have more energy, a brighter mood, better mobility, and even less pain.
Adjunct associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Susan Bartlett, PhD said there has been a surge in interest in yoga as a complimentary form of therapy for many pain-related conditions. 10% of the U.S. population today is taking part in the traditional Indian practice to help control some kind of health problem, Bartlett said. Yoga is particularly well-suited as it helps relieve stress, strengthens muscles to take pressure off of joints, allows for the accommodation of limitations, and even addresses stiffness.
75 adults with either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis of the knee took part. All led a sedentary lifestyle. Patients were randomly selected for either a yoga class that occurred twice a week for eight weeks, or were put on a waiting list for the class. Subjects were evaluated for mental well-being and physical pain both at the outset and the conclusion of the study. Researchers did not know which participants ended up in which group. At the end participants who took part in yoga found a 20% reduction in pain, as well as an equal increase in energy levels, physical functioning, and mood.
Clifton Bingham III, MD is the director of the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. He says yoga has shown tremendous benefits as an alternative therapy to help treat other conditions. But he and his team wanted to know if it was safe and effective for arthritis. Dr. Bingham said all patients took their medication concurrently with yoga practice.. Bingham suggests that patients find a teacher who will work closely with them, even on an individual basis. Also, be cognizant and accepting of what your body can and cannot do on any given day.
Those suffering from arthritis should see a doctor or specialist to address the condition. If you are already seeing one, see what they think of adding yoga to your pain management plan.
Acute pain is generally the kind experienced for under three months. Any pain lasting longer than that is considered chronic pain. Acute pain can develop due to giving birth, surgery, a significant injury, or infection. Many times those undergoing these health challenges need to be hospitalized. This can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, and even isolation which can make one’s pain worse.
Now a new study published in the, International Journal of Therapeutic Massage Bodywork, finds that massage therapy can be remarkably beneficial to patients in an acute care setting. Benefits included less pain, less of a need for medication, a higher quality of sleep, and lower levels of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. The perception of pain for patients is very significant. Though pain may be present, these other factors can make the sensation far worse. But massage lifts the perception of pain and so eases the impact of it on the patient.
An analysis of the patient’s pain levels, their perception of their pain management plan, and the use of medication were all evaluated to come to these conclusions. The psychological evaluation of their pain was a focal point, what researchers called the, “personal experience of the transcendence of suffering.” 65 patients from a nonprofit community hospital in Northern Arizona were recruited to take part in this study. Each received massage therapy from a therapist trained in working with medically fragile patients.
Participants underwent a 15-45 minute long massage per session. This included areas of the body such as the feet, back, shoulders, neck, and head. Types of massage included craniosacral therapy, acupressure, and Swedish massage. Patients were offered relaxing music and scented or unscented lotion during each session. Three-fifths of participants finished the study. Patients reported an average pain level of 5.18 before each massage, and 2.33 afterward. The beneficial effects were reported for up to 24 hours afterward, and a majority of patients said they would continue massage therapy even after being released from the hospital.
If you are suffering from acute or even chronic pain, why not talk to your doctor or pain management specialist to see if massage therapy could become part of your pain management plan?
Medical professionals have known for a long time that each individual has a different sensitivity level to pain. An injury or condition that causes one person to become bedridden is manageable by another. Much about pain is still a medical mystery. But recent studies have been uncovering more about how this phenomenon works and how it is differentiated. Investigators recently found that pain works differently among male and female mice, according to a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Researchers at McGill University, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and Duke University collaborated on the study. Here they found pain was processed in different cells in females than in males. These findings could revolutionize our understanding of pain, and help shape the development of new drugs for its management. It will also change how we investigate the sensation moving forward. According to co-senior author Jeffrey Mogil, Ph.D., E.P., we always assumed that the physiological process was the same. Now that pain has been found to be different fundamentally between the genders, new scientific and ethical questions are being raised.
Previously, it was thought that pain traveled from the site of injury via an immune system cell called the microglia to the central nervous system. But researchers found this only held true in male rodents. Blocking this cell in males also helped to successfully block their pain. Not so for females. Since mice have similar nervous systems to humans, knowing this could help bring about the next generation of pain medications. This comes as a new FDA rule, already in place in Canada, comes to the forefront. Soon more female animals must be used in preclinical testing.
Previously, scientists mostly studied male subjects. It makes sense. In humans, though it is one of the most pervasive conditions in society, more women suffer from chronic pain then men. Someday, due to this research we may see pain medication specific to each sex. Today, for those who are experiencing chronic pain, it is important to have the condition evaluated, no matter your gender.
Chronic pain is one of the most pervasive conditions in our society today. A recent study found that 100 million Americans suffer from it. Compounded with sheer numbers, chronic pain is also a biological phenomenon so complex, medical science has yet to unravel it. Moreover, the pool of those suffering from chronic pain is about to get larger as the baby boomer generation works its way up into the golden years.
It is with this backdrop that well-known pain specialist with over three decades of experience, Lynn Webster, MD, put together a book and documentary in the topic. The monograph and documentary of the same name is entitled, The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain is Really Like and Why it Matters to Each of Us. Dr. Webster said he wanted to give voice to the voiceless. He comprised his book of nine pain patients and their unique stories.
Webster said a lot of patients feel neglected, mistreated, maligned, and even treated as addicts or damaged goods. But these are real people who are suffering terrible symptoms. They deserve our sympathy, respect, and even empathy. He also talks about how incredibly difficult it is to treat chronic pain, and the failure of the healthcare system to address the issue. Today he says, our culture needs to go through a revolution as to how we perceive chronic pain and those suffering from it, and how society approaches the issue. He also urges a call to action.
Dr. Webster asks pain patients to get in touch with their senator and house representatives and ask them to commit research dollars to this silent epidemic. If you suffer from chronic pain, do not give up hope. Keep working at it until you find relief. Continue to explain yourself until those around you understand. Visit your doctor, see a specialist, or go to a pain clinic. Advocate for yourself and others. And make sure to have your condition properly addressed.
One in three Americans suffer from chronic pain. But for those who do, it can be difficult to explain the multifaceted nature of their condition to those who do not understand. Among the generally pain free, there are a lot of myths that chronic pain sufferers should help to dispel. Whether you are a pain patient trying to find some framing words and phrases to communicate your experience to others, or you have someone in your life who suffers from some such condition, this is for you. Here are some things those with chronic pain want others to know.
First, come to realize that pain is as much psychological as it is physical. For most people, pain is a fleeting sensation. But for those with the chronic kind, the psychological effects such as added stress, worry, concern, and even being down can seriously affect it. Do not walk on egg shells around them. This is libel to annoy them. But just be aware that how you affect their mood in turn how that affects their condition.
Those with chronic pain have to take extra measures to avoid triggers. That might mean planning a daily itinerary differently say if one is on vacation than someone without such a condition would. It may also mean adhering to certain dietary restraints, and abstaining from activities that might trigger pain. Some people misinterpret chronic pain as a consistent sensation. Each medical condition is different, but this is not usually the case.
For most, it is different each day. Some days are worse than others. Though they have to take the necessary safeguards and precautions, those who suffer chronic pain generally do not want to be treated any differently. They do not want pity. They are not damaged or feeble. Truth be told, we all have our own health problems and conditions. Just accommodate them and be available to them. But treat pain patients just as you would anyone else. Some sufferers feel guilt over how their condition affects others. If it is a loved one, just be aware of this. Conduct your life, enjoy it and this alone will help lift up the person dealing with chronic pain. Lastly, encourage them to seek out medical care should they still be suffering. There are specialists and specialized clinics who may better address their condition.
The cooler months are coming, which is when arthritis sufferers find their symptoms get worse. Though many are already on a management plan, when the cold weather settles in, arthritis sufferers want to know what additional treatments they can use to manage their discomfort. Many times, patients are looking for drug-free options. There are actually several alternative and natural practices that can help alleviate symptoms and offer relief.
First, invest some time in special exercises. There are three kinds that are most beneficial, according to The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). To relieve stiffness and mobility, try range-of-motion exercises. These can include yoga, tai chi, and dancing. Weight training and other strength training can increase the strength of your muscles which takes stress off of joints. Finally, aerobic exercise can help keep the weight off and take pressure off of bones and joints. Due make sure to choose low impact exercises like swimming, cycling, and water aerobics. Anything high impact is likely to exacerbate discomfort.
Besides exercise, a healthy diet is really important. Eating foods that are anti-inflammatory such as fatty fish, turmeric, and ginger can be helpful. The Arthritis Foundation has put out dietary guidelines that can help soothe symptoms. They suggest to limit alcohol, salt, sugar, fat, and cholesterol. These can increase inflammation in the body. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Be sure to eat whole grain carbs over refined ones. The latter can spur inflammation. Avoid foods that may interact with your medications.
Try some supplements. Fish oil contains omega-3s which help bring down inflammation. Some evidence shows that chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine may also be helpful. These are available both separate and in one dose pills. Manage you stress in a healthy manner. Stress can increase awareness of discomfort. And for pain try cold or hot compresses. Cold can bring down the swelling, while heat can relax it away. If you are still suffering from arthritis-related pain be sure to speak to a physician or pain specialist.
Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions American’s suffer, and one of the biggest reasons people visit the doctor. A wide variety of things can cause it such as: osteoporosis, an injury, overuse, pressure on the nerves, and less commonly a bacterial infection, spinal tumors, and ankylosing spondylitis or arthritis of the spine. Each specific cause will need to be addressed in a different way.
That said, a new study, conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, finds that for some lower back pain sufferers, spinal manipulation can offer relief. This kind of therapy is most often employed by chiropractors and physical therapists. It is applying force and in other ways manipulating the spine in order to realign it. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Greg Kawchukis is a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta. He was a co-author on this study.
Kawchukis said that both the alternative practitioners and pain specialists were right about spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). Instead of trying to find what works and what doesn’t in a blanket manner, Kawchukis said what is important is finding the right therapy for the particular patient or root cause. 32 participants with lower back pain took part in the study. All underwent two sessions of SMT. Another 16 participants were in the control group. They were examined but did not undergo SMT. Researchers polled participants on their level of pain before and after therapy. They also took objective measurements of pain, as well as measures of spinal stiffness, muscle activity, and disc hydration. 15 of the 32 said they felt better. They also had similar disc hydration to those in the control groups.
Researchers were not sure why SMT worked for some patients and not others. One theory is that people may have different spinal characteristics. But more research will be needed to determine if this is so. For those suffering from lower back pain, be sure to visit a doctor or pain specialist and seek help. A serious condition may be causing the pain. You may also want to know if SMT might help with your condition as well.